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News > Colombia

Colombia's JEP Orders Capture of Former FARC, 'El Paisa'

  • FARC political party member Ivan Marquez speaks during a press conference in Bogota, Colombia, April 10, 2018.

    FARC political party member Ivan Marquez speaks during a press conference in Bogota, Colombia, April 10, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 27 April 2019

The Chamber of the Special Jurisdiction of Peace said that 'El Paisa' has breached the 2016 Colombian Peace Accords.

The Special Jurisdiction of Peace (JEP) made the decision Thursday to order the capture of Hernan Dario Velasquez, "El Paisa," a former leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for breaching the 2016 Colombian Peace Accords.  

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Judge Catalina Diaz Gomez read the 90-page decision that put Velasquez back on the country's most-wanted list. The magistrate said El Paisa wasn't "fulfilling his (obligations) of reincorporation." 

The move made Velasquez the first guerrilla leader to temporarily lose benefits granted to former FARC under the peace agreement that focused on reconcilation rather than punitive measures for the Marxist rebels who joined forces in 1964. This means that the former commander could face a prison sentence between five and 20 years, according to the Bogota-based newspaper, La Semana.

Judge Diaz Gomez pointed out that the JEP has had no information of El Paisa's whereabouts since June 2018, putting him in violation of an agreement he signed with the temporary court back in 2016. Since then, he has failed to appear in the court that has called on the former FARC three times in order to testify in a trial.

"At this moment he has the obligation to appear at the trial," the judge said noting that neither has the former combatant offered an excuse for his absence.  


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Among the conditions outlined for ex-combatants are the abandonment of arms, the guarantee of non-rearmament, the commitment to honest proceedings, and reparations to victims. The JEP judge underlined that there is no evidence that El Paisa had rearmed.

In turn former FARC receive benefits such as the lifting of arrest warrants, amnesty and parole. To maintain those benefits, said the magistrate, he had to fulfill his individual obligations.

The Chamber noted that El Paisa left the reintegration process with funds that were part of his agreement. This is his second breach of the accord.

"It is essential that whoever has committed to the system appear before this body of justice when it is called," the magistrate said. 

The JEP is a temporary tribunal created from the ​​​​​Peace Agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC. Its purpose is to bring justice to victims of the country's more than 50 years of civil conflict ​​​​in order to "building stable and lasting peace," according to the institution.

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